Diners at Backfire BBQ tear into wood-fire-grilled barbecue entrees of ribs, burgers, and chicken amid 8,300 square feet of custom-built choppers, antique motorcycles, and classic cars. The smell of a chicken finger appetizer drizzled with honey mustard mingles with the sounds of frequent live music or episodes of American Chopper screened on plasma televisions. Guests take notes for redecorating their bedrooms while admiring revolving motorcycle fountains before they move on to meals of hickory-smoked pulled pork or a full slab of ribs. The Full Throttle entree weighs down plates with a quintet of grilled meats, including ribs, beef brisket burnt ends, and smoked sausage. Tipplers wander through a NASCAR-themed room decked with racecar engines and memorabilia while communicating in the guttural vrooms of racecar dialect.
Since 1971, the chefs at Winslow's BBQ have been preparing meats ranging from ribs to turkey with a thorough dry-rub and a slow-cook over a hickory pit smoker. Although all of the meats are cooked the same way, not all of them sport the same zesty, housemade barbecue sauce. Homestyle sides, such as creamy potato salad and crispy french fries, accompany each main entree and scare the living daylights out of Mr. Potato Head. Diners can feast amid the dining room's exposed brick walls and black leather booths, or enjoy their meals on the outdoor patio, which is open during the spring and summer months.
Taking a three-hour lunch break might be frowned upon when you're at the office, but not if you work for Taste of Kansas City Food Tours. The company's tour guides specialize in meals on the move, leading groups to nearby restaurants for samples of their specialties. The stops on the walking tour tend to be locally owned eateries located slightly to the left of the mainstream—though they don't shy away from a famous pizza joint or two.
One route takes guests through Crossroads, and the other explores Westport, but both fill the time between bites with facts about the neighborhood and its history. The tastings on each tour might change from day to day, so surprise is the only common ingredient. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that you'll end the afternoon with a full stomach and a stack of clean plates.